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We’ve all seen the classic “what gets measured gets done” quote, but so often we actually measure, manage and reward the wrong things.

Let me tell you a little story, based on a real experience we’ve been having here at Sparta HQ.

A couple of months ago, we started noticing that whilst our sales were growing and we were rapidly acquiring new customers – customers were often investing in our solution for quite different reasons.

Whilst this is completely natural (customers have unique problems and the software provides a tailored solution), we weren’t capturing this information effectively enough – which meant that our ongoing customer success work was not always able to leverage the “motivation” for why a customer had invested in the solution. If they don’t know the motivation for buying – how can they leverage it?

In addition, sales reps were often not able to leverage this information to effectively move a deal forward through the sales cycle rapidly. Lastly, not knowing the true value of the product in the customers eye means contract values are harder to increase.

Ok so we want to increase contract values, decrease sales cycle BY knowing more about what our customers think about our product value.

This is how we solved it:

To tackle this issue, we added an activity to our Sparta campaigns – which was that each sales rep is rewarded with 25 points every time they ASK the customer for the top 3 reasons they would invest in Sparta, IN the meeting, IN PERSON. These 3 reasons need to then be shared with the entire company via the Sparta platform.

What happened next was magical.

Obviously we started collecting more information about why customers were investing in us – which was to be expected. We set a reward on an action, and the action increased. Obvious, not particularly rocket science. We measured something, so people did more of it.

However, this simple little reward has had a huge and lasting impact on the company.

Firstly, everyone in the company (including product management and software engineers) are seeing in real-time what the market is saying about our product and our messaging. This gives everyone more insight, more quickly, gets everyone excited about what we’re doing and of course gives us a chance to react to these insights in terms of new product development or tweaks to messaging or positioning.

MOST IMPORTANTLY HOWEVER THOUGH, small changes in what you measure and the behaviours you encourage can have huge impacts on your outcomes and KPIs:

  1. Sales cycles have improved because we know exactly the problems we are solving and the value we are delivering. Sales reps are more focused on the value, meaning deals progress faster.
  2. Contract values are increasing because we know more about the true value the product delivers to a customer. We don’t waste time on features and buttons, we talk values and true benefits. This makes capturing more business up front a no-brainer for a customer.

In my mind, this represents how sales organisations will operate in the future. We’ll be driven by actions and behaviours, not outcomes and results.

Faced with these issues, most organisations would simply set goals on sales cycles + contract values and hope for the best. Sparta thinks differently and I’m proud of that!

To succeed with a change, break down your goals into actionable behaviours, reward people for doing them and encourage people to change their behaviours. Then you’ll get the outcomes as a result.

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Written by

James Pember
CEO Sparta, gamification & performance management technology for the world's biggest and most-loved enterprise brands.Passionate about performance. Passionate about helping companies drive change. Love the intersection of behaviour, business, psychology and technology. One-time marathon finisher (probably won't try again).